Academy apologizes to Sacheen Littlefeather, who refused an Oscar on Marlon Brando’s behalf

2022-08-16 01:52:16

Virtually 50 years later, the Academy of Movement Image Arts and Sciences is formally apologizing to Littlefeather for the mistreatment she skilled throughout her speech and within the years to observe.

“The abuse you endured due to this assertion was unwarranted and unjustified,” former Academy president David Rubin wrote in a letter to Littlefeather. “The emotional burden you could have lived by means of and the fee to your individual profession in our business are irreparable. For too lengthy the braveness you confirmed has been unacknowledged. For this, we provide each our deepest apologies and our honest admiration.”

In a press release, Littlefeather referred to as the upcoming occasion, throughout which she’ll obtain the apology in particular person, “a dream come true.”

“Concerning the Academy’s apology to me, we Indians are very affected person individuals — it is solely been 50 years!” she stated. “We have to hold our humorousness about this always. It is our methodology of survival.”

A number of Indigenous artists will carry out in the course of the occasion for Littlefeather, together with Hen Runningwater, co-chair of the Academy’s Indigenous Alliance, and Virginia Carmelo, a descendent of the Tongva individuals who will lead a land acknowledgment.

“It’s profoundly heartening to see how a lot has modified since I didn’t settle for the Academy Award 50 years in the past,” Littlefeather stated.

Her speech earned boos and applause

When Brando received finest actor for his starring position in “The Godfather,” he was absent. In his stead, he requested Littlefeather, then an actress and activist, to attend the ceremony — and to refuse the award on his behalf.

Taking the stage quietly and calmly in a buckskin gown, Littlefeather solemnly launched herself as an Apache girl and president of the Nationwide Native American Affirmative Picture Committee.
“(Brando) very regretfully can’t settle for this very beneficiant award, and the explanations for this being are the therapy of American Indians at this time by the movie business,” she stated to a mixture of boos and applause, pausing and showing visibly upset. “I urge presently that I’ve not intruded upon this night, and that we are going to, sooner or later, our hearts and our understandings will meet with love and generosity.”
Littlefeather said she promised Brando she wouldn't touch the award itself.
Brando additionally refused to just accept the award because of the federal response to Wounded Knee, when members of the American Indian Motion occupied the South Dakota city however have been met by resistance from federal legislation enforcement. Littlefeather stated she promised Brando that she would not contact the Oscar statuette, she stated.
“I targeted in on the mouths and the jaws that have been dropping open within the viewers, and there have been fairly just a few,” she advised the official Academy weblog, A.Body. “However it was like trying right into a sea of Clorox, you recognize, there have been only a few individuals of colour within the viewers.”
She additionally stated that John Wayne, the conservative Western star who as soon as stated “Indians have been selfishly making an attempt to maintain (the US) for themselves,” charged at her to “take (her) off the stage,” although he was restrained by safety guards.

After the ceremony, Littlefeather stated she was “silenced” and struggled to seek out work within the movie business. She devoted a lot of her profession post-Oscars to activism and founding performing arts organizations for Indigenous actors.

Regardless of the condemnation she acquired from some in Hollywood who disagreed along with her defenses of Native People, Littlefeather stated she acquired reward and help from leaders like Coretta Scott King and Cesar Chavez.

“I knew I had finished the fitting factor,” she advised A.Body.

Correction: This text has been up to date to notice that David Rubin is the previous president of the Academy of Movement Image Arts and Sciences.

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